The colorful world of nematodes

At e-nema, we produce 4 different types of nematodes that are used in biocontrol against insect pests. However, there are many more species, with around 20,000 known worldwide with very different characteristics. They are very numerous and colonize almost all areas of life in nature.

Nematodes are everywhere and there are many of them: in the sand under your feet while walking on the beach, in the potatoes in the garden, in the sea, on the mountains and even in space!

Nematodes can be microscopic or true giants several meters long. They are mainly known for the damage they cause to plants, and they are also pathogens of animals, including humans. Nevertheless, some species are very useful in biocontrol, in measuring soil and water quality and understanding of the aging process. The world of nematodes is diverse and scientists find these little animals extremely interesting!

So interesting that they were even sent into space for research purposes. Astronauts who spend long periods in space often suffer from muscle weakness. Nematodes of the species Caenorhadditis elegans were therefore sent into space with the space shuttle Columbia in 2003 as a model for experiments on muscle weakness and even survived its tragic crash. In 2011, the experiments were repeated in space and successfully completed.

In 2019, nematodes of the species Steinernema feltiae were sent to the International Space Station (ISS) for a research project. The aim of the project is to find out whether beneficial nematodes are also effective against insect pests in microgravity. This was the first step towards sustainable interstellar agriculture in space.

Read more